By now pretty much everyone is well aware that there’s a new Spider-Man game in the works. After waiting for what felt like forever, Marvel is investing in a new big-budget project featuring our favorite wall-crawler. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two years since the release of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 tie-in game, because it feels like way longer since we had a AAA Spider-Man title for consoles. That will change with Marvel’s upcoming bunch of blockbuster titles that will include far more than just Spider-Man. What’s more, this could provide the opportunity for some new and exciting stories.
While the renewed interest in the character (thanks to the MCU) has been great, there’s also something of a downside when it comes to storytelling. Because of the grand scope of the MCU, and how the comics have come to reflect that, it restricts writers in the kind of stories they can tell. That’s not to say that they aren’t already telling great stories, because they are. However, the avenue for experimentation and new ideas remains somewhat constrained by the baggage of history that comes with the character. Through its games, Marvel can give developers the opportunity to explore different modes of gameplay and storytelling with its characters. This is a level of freedom that’s not currently available through the comics and movies.
Marvel Game Creative Director Bill Rosemann said the company specifically wants to give developers the freedom to tell new stories that aren’t required to be tied to the established universes that we’re already acquainted with. We know that the Spider-Man PS4 exclusive is being developed by Insomniac Games (of Ratchet and Clank fame) and will tell a completely original story that will exist completely separately from both the movies and the comics. It would also seem that the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy game from Telltale will also diverge from its big screen counterparts.
Marvel is no stranger to a willingness to experiment with some of its bigger characters. The company has already used the mobile market as a place where they can try out different types of gameplay in order to appeal to wider audiences. This can be seen in Marvel Avengers Academy, a game designed for teens and young adults that combines a social sim with an adventure game. Marvel has also sought to engage with adult fans through the licensing of its characters to a variety of casino platforms. These include Marvel-themed takes on a number of classic games, including a roulette wheel based on the famous characters. Roulette’s popularity comes from the fact it’s accessible for players of any skill level, and by including the comic book heroes in a game with such a large audience, Marvel can get in front of people that might not be fans of the comics or movies.
Using the different arms of its media empire to allow itself the freedom to expand what’s possible with the characters is one of the smartest moves Marvel could make right now. The first example of these new stories will come through Telltale’s episodic adventure series for the Guardians of the Galaxy and PC Gamer has revealed that the first of five episodes for the game will be released April 18, 2017.
With Marvel being prepared to take chances with some of its biggest characters, fans will experience whole new worlds of stories that aren’t boxed in by the weight of the multimedia giant. Thanks to video games, the sky is the limit for what can happen and we can’t wait to to enjoy the different webs they’ll weave with the new Spider-Man game.